In the Crucible Of COVID-19, New Paradigm Shifts, And a New Normal Are Being Birthed.
The earth is a small speck of dust, suspended in a sun beam, in the immeasurable vastness of space. The cosmos is filled with a sea of galaxies, and their stretch is undeniably unfathomable. The far reaches of interstellar space are barely known to the human mind. A lot of scientists claim that the universe is expanding. The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. In the grandeur picture of human existence and civilization, the Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. From a galactical, macro-level vantage, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. That small mote of dust, in the vast cosmic arena is here! That’s home. Home to every being who ever existed. From the greats of every moment in time, to the miniatures, from the greatest saint, to the worst sinner, from the richest to the poor, from the most influential to the most insignificant; everyone who ever lived, lived out their lives on that speck of dust. The Sun exerts its gravitational pull on the Earth as it pitches its territory in the solar system. The Earth’s stratosphere is incredibly thin and absolutely vulnerable. But think about it, it took centuries for us to appreciate how blessed we are as a race, to call Earth, our home. It’s the only green planet, with the right amount of balance from the micro-level to the galactical realm. It’s one of the few planets where the gravitational pull is so at balance, enabling us to walk, jump, breathe in oxygen, without any cataclysmal blow upstand trying to draw and focus our attention to our magnificent home, the Green planet, or the “Pale Blue Dot “as Carl Sagan called it.
Planet Earth has convalesced in the face of many adversities. From wars, to diseases, to famines and droughts, to disasters inflicted not from within but, meteorites and comets. The horrors that have befallen this planet will forever be etched on its memory. To quote Carl Sagan, “Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. “Let that sink in! A fraction of a dot so blinded and obscured the mind of Hitler that he temporarily sought the glory and triumph for a fraction of a dot in comparison with the blood of 6 million Jews. But for these kind of visible enemies, moral sanity and dogma always triumphs and the trajectory of life once again, is brought back on course. It’s much easier to stop a visible enemy! How about the invisible enemy? How do you track her down? Can you put chains on her? But then, what kind of chains? Visible or invisible chains?
Our magnificent pale blue dot, was tattooed with three major influenza pandemics during the 20th century;1918(Spanish flu),1957(Asian flu),and 1968(Hong Kong flu).Each pandemic put a formidable dent on our splendid planet. Unfortunately, we have been visited by yet, another pandemic,COVID-19. With our feet well sank in the sand, our hands are steadily holding the bow, and our finest minds joining forces as we wage war against the coronavirus.
When the first coronavirus case was reported in China in December 2019,it was just but a blip on the news cast to me. Being a political junky, I follow annals of news each hour so news from Wuhan, China did not capture the world stage by any magnitude. It was a tiny pixel of this mote of dust dealing with the lethal coronavirus. Fast forward to today,04/02/2020,the world is staring this invisible enemy right in the eyes as the death toll stands at 52,000,infection cases at 1.1 M and 211,000 who have recovered.
In a span of three months since the first reported case in China, the world’s walls are all collapsing internally, and this invisible enemy has brought planet Earth to a standstill. Coronavirus, a single-stranded, positive-sense RNA, named after its “corona or crown-like “club-shape spike surface projections seen on electron microscopy. This invisible enemy is not gigantic in size. In fact, her genome size is only 27-34 kilobases and its diameter is only 125 nm. Yet, this micro-miniature enemy has tight locked the shackles of all the major world cities, leaving them as ghost towns. The shock waves are loudly reverberating on the shores of North & South America, Asia, Australia, China, Antarctica and Africa. The cataclysmal battle of this virus is not on the battlefield but rather in our own mortal and fragile lungs. A whole planet has been brought down to almost its knees through a war which is not on the shores of Russia, Germany, Iraq, or Libya. Rather, the battle is on the shores of the balloon like structures in our lungs called alveoli. It’s a war within us, and those battles are the hardest to win. In the lungs, the macrophages are the “fighters “that clear up anything foreign, including bad guys like COVID-19. However, COVID-19 attacks these macrophages, leading to a cascade of events and the inflammation of the lung parenchyma. Eventually, the lung capillaries become so leaky that fluid leaks out and accumulates in the lungs. This renders the intake of oxygen difficult and you simply drown in your own lungs.
As the shores of our towns remain vacated and most of the businesses remain closed, social distancing has become the new norm and our once, hardly frequented houses have become our nests 24/7.As the world reckons with and wages war against this invisible antagonist, the human race has once again been subjected to forge a new normal and new paradigm shifts are on the horizon. The words of Jesse Owens ring true, “The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself-the invisible battles inside all of us-that’s where it’s at.
References: John Hopkins School of Public Health; Statistics, Carl Sagan
— Blog By Timothy Muambi Muia
Medical Student, USA